Schafer impressing Fredi with his work ethic
Because there is a potential that Jordan Schafer still has a bright future, it seems hard to believe the Braves would begin the season with him as their fourth outfielder. It would seem more prudent to allow him to make up for the time he lost the past couple years by spending at least a few months playing everyday in the Minors.
With this being said, the Braves have to spend the next couple weeks allowing Schafer to play as much as possible in Grapefruit League games. If Chipper Jones’ knee ever becomes problematic enough that Martin Prado is forced to experience a long-term stay at third base, Joe Mather could play left field.
But instead of putting too much faith in Mather’s ability to play an everyday role, the Braves would seem better suited to give Schafer every chance he can to play and further prove that he has distanced himself from the left wrist injury that has wrecked his past two seasons.
In somewhat of a selfish manner, I’m hoping Schafer spends the next couple of weeks proving to be just as exciting as he was during the 2009 Grapefruit League season. As I’ve said in the past, I’ve grown to like the kid, who has understandably been defined as brash and cocky.
If he was brash, cocky, lazy and expecting everything to be handed to him, it would be tough to like him. But while showing some arrogance, this kid has proven that he is willing to work and put in the extra time necessary to resurrect his once highly-promising career.
“I’ll tell you what, (Schafer) and Prado are probably the two hardest-working guys we have,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “They’re here at 6 o’clock in the morning and when you leave, they’re still in there doing something.”
It appears Kenshin Kawakami could arrive in camp next week to get a close look at Schafer’s work ethic. Of course the Braves will be satisfied if he simply arrives in time to prove impressive enough for some pitching-hungry club to prove willing to trade for him and relieve the Braves of some of his $6.77 million salary.
Kawakami has landed an appointment to complete all of the steps needed to secure his visa. The Braves believe this should allow him to exit his native Japan within the next couple of days.
By the time Kawakami arrives, Eric O’Flaherty might have fully digested the 48-ounce steak he ate at Shula’s Steakhouse Wednesday night. He also consumed a bowl of French onion soup long before Chipper was left with the big bill.
WORTH NOTING: As mentioned earlier this week, Brett Oberholtzer has been impressing many of the Braves coaches during the early days of Spring Training. In fact, there are some who believe this left-hander out of Delaware will soon be mentioned with the organization’s Big Three – Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado and Arodys Vizcaino…Brian McCann, Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Nate McLouth, Eric Hinske and Schafer will all make the trip to Port St. Lucie for Saturday’s Grapefruit League season opener.